The Virginia Wrage Memorial Scholarship

This Scholarship is awarded to mature women, for vocational educational purposes, to achieve emotional, social, and economic independence following a life-altering event.

The Virginia Wrage Memorial Scholarship was created to honor Virginia Wrage, a dedicated and loved Zontian, who at the age of 50 faced a family crisis that resulted in a major career change for her. After she was diagnosed with cancer two years later, she helped plan a fund that would assist other mature women who faced challenges as she had. Since 1995, the fund has provided over $200,000 dollars in awards to local women 40 years of age or older in life transition. Today Virginia’s friends, family and colleagues continue to support this exceptional program.

 

 

About the Scholarship

The Virginia Wrage Memorial Scholarship is awarded to mature women, for vocational educational purposes, to achieve emotional, social, and economic independence following a life-altering event. Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley offers scholarships to cover all or part of an educational degree, or career and technical training up to $8,000.

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible for a scholarship, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a woman age 40 years or older
  • Be a resident of the greater Santa Clarita Valley
  • Have experienced a life-altering event resulting in a need for educational, career and/or technical training to improve your life
  • Previous applicants who were not selected may apply again

What are the requirements?

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. Completion of the official application
  2. Applicants must be residents of the greater Santa Clarita Valley including Castaic, Val Verde, Stevenson Ranch, Westridge, Agua Dulce
  3. Must be age 40 years or older at time of application submission
  4. Demonstrated initiative, ambition and commitment to obtaining schooling or training to improve your life with gainful employment.
  5. Provide proof of enrollment and transcripts (if currently enrolled)

 

2024 Virginia Wrage Scholarship recipients announced

The Virginia Wrage Memorial Scholarship was awarded to four women over the age of 40, for vocational educational purposes, to achieve emotional, social, and economic independence following a life-altering event.

This year’s scholarship winners are:

Cathy Kang

While caring for her ailing mother and father and eventually losing her father to a long illness, Cathy decided to pursue her RN license so she could specialize in palliative care.  Cathy already has her CNA certification and has completed her AA degree and is well on her way to her goal.  I hope when the time comes to meet my maker, I have at my side such a dedicated, genuine, care giver.

Weeda Bakhshee

Weeda Bakhshee

Originally from Afghanistan, Weeda, with her ability to speak 6 languages, served with American forces in her country providing interpreting services for many years.  She was able to emigrate at the conflict’s conclusion but, like many of our returning vets, suffered from PTSD.  Even juggling single parenthood of 2, she is a clerical Assistant at COC while pursuing her BA and master’s in psychology to ultimately teach at the college level and counsel other veterans going through the trauma of PTSD.  Weeda was unable to attend the awards event, but she met with Terry Kanowsky, Co-Chair of the committee to receive her award and certificate. (Weeda was unable to attend the ceremony but she received her award the next day.)

Michel Pilarski

A loving and loyal wife who has helped her husband through his struggle with addiction, Michel has successfully raised their children and now hopes to complete her education to become an RN specializing in Labor and Delivery.  Along with her commitment to her family and goals, Michel also volunteers time with ZOE International a non-profit organization which works to stop human trafficking and to rehabilitate trafficked child survivors.

Eda GRACE Chang

Grace and her family weathered a thriving small business felled by Covid and a son coping with serious depression.  After taking stock, she chose not to give in to despair but to show her children, by example, that you just pick yourself up and start again!  Grace, now a Licensed Vocational Nurse, is returning to school to become an RN with a goal of achieving a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  Eventually, with Grace working in the medical field, the Chang family hope to reopen their restaurant.

Congratulations to all. We are so very proud of you and best wishes to you and your families

Want to help more women change their lives?

Virginia Wrage (620 x 330 px)

Virginia Wrage was a dedicated and loved Zontian, mother, and grandmother who, at the age of 50, faced a family crisis that resulted in a major career change for her. Virginia applied for, and after a rigorous nine-month course, fulfilled a childhood dream of becoming a flight attendant for American Airlines.

Two years later, Virginia was diagnosed with cancer. Before her death, she helped plan a fund that would assist other mature women through challenges such as those she faced.

Since its inception in 1995, the Virginia Wrage Memorial Fund has aided more than 50 women with scholarships ranging from $500 to $4000.

Many recipients are returning to school at mid-life to be able to support themselves and their children. Some are victims of domestic abuse. Some are single mothers. Some are struggling to complete G.E.D.s or college degrees. Some are on the verge of becoming homeless. All are facing a difficult life challenge.

Each year, the Virginia Wrage Memorial Fund provides scholarships to deserving women in the Santa Clarita Valley community. The members of Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley are honored to be able to assist these women in the name of Virginia Wrage.

What Recipients Have Said:

"My dream is to use my gifts and talents to encourage, stimulate and motivate a thinking society."

"Every woman needs support and you are a tremendous blessing to each of us."

"My dreams include philanthropy and to support those in need and to give back in appreciation for what I have been so fortunate to receive."

"Thank you for seeing in me an example of the woman that Ms. Wrage wished to support."

"It was a big inspiration that someone believed in me when I was having a hard time believing in myself."

"Definitely, receiving this money and reading your letter empower and motivate me to keep going. You let me know that it is worth the effort and that it is valued."

"It's overwhelming to be back in the workforce at 48, but it's more common than I ever realized.  Thanks to this grant, I believe I'll do better than just survive."

"I'm a UCLA Graduate.  I never anticipated going into hiding, food stamps and homelessness"

"It was darn hard, with six kids.  But I want my kids to know that you have to go get what you want.  It's not going to come to you."

"You are a wonderful support emotionally, and I hope to make you proud."

Oh my goodness!!! Thank you so much and a million times over! I can't wait to share the news with my family. I am filled with gratitude. 

I can't thank the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita enough for this opportunity. The news made me cry, a good cry.